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Crocs steal kill from lions

Crocs steal kill from lions

The following images are from an incredible event that took place on the banks of the Luangwa river. It was mid-morning and I was sitting in my vehicle photographing the Hollywood pride who were laid out in the shade of a tree near the river. At the same time there was a large number of crocodiles casually finishing off the remains of a hippo that had died in the water nearby.

After a couple hours spent watching the lions sleep a small herd of impala came down to the river to drink and the lions were suddenly very much awake again. The impala ram immediately spotted them and he and his females came closer to get a better look at the lions. Antelope, especially Puku, often do this when they see lions as they seem to feel safer if they can keep the danger in sight. Or maybe they just like to live life on the edge! I think if I was an impala I would get as far away as possible as soon as possible!

What the impala didn’t realise was that there was a solitary lioness lying in the grass quite close to their position. As they came closer this lioness dropped down onto the sand behind them and they were trapped. The rest of the lions immediately gave chase and the impala herd shot off in all directions. The lions honed in on one individual and chased her down toward the water.

At this point I had to jump out my vehicle and chase the action on foot as the lions were blocked from sight by a grove of ebony trees. I am quite used to this kind of thing happening – with wildlife the best action often seems to take place either too far away or partially obscured by something… It just helps to keep you thirsty for more!

By the time I got into a position where I could catch my breath and start taking photographs again the lone impala, having no other option, had entered the water and was quickly caught by the crocodiles. A couple of the lions braved the water and followed her in but soon gave up hope against the crocs. The poor impala was torn up and swallowed in a matter of seconds.

At one point a fish eagle swooped down and grabbed a chunk of meat which it took back to eat at leisure on a nearby branch.

I was a little disappointed with the images that I took away from this as I had missed a lot of the action. Still, the images I did get were very interesting and it was an incredible event to witness. The poor lions had no choice but to watch their meal being devoured before their eyes by the crocodiles.

Eventually they realised that they weren’t going to get anything to eat and one by one they headed back to the shade.

I stayed with them for the rest of the day hoping for a sequel which never came..

Content Copyright Patrick Bentley Photography

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